As previously stated, I love me some Viktor & Rolf. Though this was not my favorite show of theirs by far, I still thought they explored some interesting concepts.
V&R have always loved exaggeration by duplication (their multi-collared shirt, cascading lapel jacket, etc.). They have also incorporated this theme into their runway models before (fall 2003 RTW collection), painting them all with the same dramatic, wan complexion and ginger-red hair of their fabulously eccentric friend and muse Tilda Swinton. Though unusual in the fashion world, this concept was famously used in the 1937 classic Shall We Dance where Fred Astaire, missing his paramour Ginger Rogers, insists that his backup dancers all wear masks with her image. Deliciously creepy, non?
I enjoyed V&R’s black and white striped pattern, featured in fabric, shoes and tights. It reminded me a bit of England’s flag motif:
Ensembles sporting the long, sharply angled lines were set against pieces embracing more organic, flowing shapes where the fabric was cut in waves and allowed to drape in a less structured manner. Interestingly, these softer shapes obscured the body’s natural shape even more than the rigidly geometric ones, like a shell hosting a soft snail.
Spirals abounded throughout the collection with various levels of subtly, perhaps referencing seaweed and more snails (the second V&R ensemble below actually resembles a snail’s proportions of exterior-to-flesh).
I watched the show several times over the course of several days, and the website’s quality was oddly inconsistent. The final time I viewed it, the screen was distractingly grainy — I don’t know if that’s because there was a website traffic jam or what, but I had difficulty making out the details. These are the drawbacks of using images rather than live action. However, there were several close-ups of the garments that I appreciated, the details of which never would have been possible from a non-front row seat at a live show.
I enjoyed the deliberate liberties that were taken in the filming style — sometimes the same 2 second image was looped for emphasis, and there were a couple slow motion shots of Shalom striding down the virtual runway. I liked that attention was drawn to this being a video, not even attempting to duplicate a runway video that might’ve been taken of a live show (there were no virtual audience members either, making it feel a bit like a dress rehearsal rather than a final product– and perhaps that’s what it was in the grand scheme of things). And in case you still missed the digital / technological aspect, the show concluded with all 21 Shaloms applauding as the oversized puppet masters Viktor and Rolf literally lorded over them, watching as the Shaloms’ pixels broke down and they disintegrated into virtual space like confetti.
All in all, I enjoyed the concept of the “Shalom” show — democratizing high fashion by presenting on a universally accessible platform and all that rot– but the designs themselves fell a bit short for me, as did the quality of said technology. I wonder if V&R, or perhaps another fashion house, pursue digital options in showcasing….